Licking cancer: U.S. postal stamp helped fund key breast study

Countless breast cancer patients in the future will be spared millions of dollars of chemotherapy thanks in part to something that millions of Americans did that cost them just pennies: bought a postage stamp. Proceeds from the U.S. Postal Service’s breast cancer stamp put researchers over the top when they were trying to get enough money to do the landmark study published on Sunday that showed genetic testing can reveal which women with early-stage breast cancer need chemo and which do not.

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Many Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Chemo, Study Finds

(From AP News)

Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reporting from a landmark study that used genetic testing to gauge each patient’s risk.

The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 patients a year in the United States and many more elsewhere the ordeal and expense of these drugs.

“The impact is tremendous,” said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Most women in this situation don’t need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, and “the rest of them are receiving chemotherapy unnecessarily.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the U.S. breast cancer postage stamp.

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